Leeds’ adopted aircraft carrier The Ark Royal to be scrapped

By Sallie Gregson

The Royal Navy’s former flagship is being towed from Portsmouth to Turkey today after it was decommissioned following a defence review in 2010.

The link between Leeds and HMS Ark Royal dates back to when the third Ark Royal was adopted by the city during the Second World War.

Just days after the city agreed to raise the funds as part of Leeds Warship Week, the aircraft carrier was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean.

The target went up from £3.5 million for bodywork to a massive £5 million to build a replacement ship.

In the end the grand total raised by Leeds was over £9 million with contributions coming from all over the region.

Commissioned in 1985 the ship being towed today is the fifth Ark Royal and was stationed in the Gulf during the Iraq War.

In November 2003 a parade was held in Millennium Square to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Ark Royal being granted the Freedom of the city, attended by the Lord Mayor, councillors and other public figures.

Ark Royal Parade through Leeds, November 21, 2003

Ark Royal Parade through Leeds, November 21, 2003

A huge march took place along The Headrow in the city centre, led by the Navy and followed by military vehicles and personnel.

 All images reproduced by kind permission of Leeds Library and Information Service from their website http://www.leodis.net/


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